Before your new business starts turning over a profit, you’ll likely need to spend money to get your business properly set up. Planning out the financial aspects of your business is crucial – you want to know exactly where your money is going and how much of it is being spent. 

However, many business owners tend to get so caught up in calculating the cost of things like equipment, supplies and promotions, they forget to take into account the cost of registering their business. 

The cost of registering your business isn’t as straightforward of an answer as you might think. While there are set fee’s, ultimately the costs of registration will come down to the types of decision you make for your business. 

Let’s take a closer look below. 

Does Registering A Business Cost Money? 

There are costs associated with registering a business however, they may not always apply. Before you register a business, there’s a number of things you need to consider. This includes:

  • The type of legal structure your business will have
  • Whether you will need a business name or not 
  • How long you want to keep your business name registered 
  • If there are any local, state or industry related costs to getting your business set up i.e licencing fees 

The cost for registering your business will largely depend on the factors we listed above and more. It’s important to have a clear idea on these matters when you’re planning out your business’s financial future. 

So, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence and find out as much information as possible. For instance, if there’s going to be any additional licences or set up costs according to your state or local government, then it’s a wise move to get on top of that. Learning about the different types of business structures is also handy, as you’ll need to make a few choices regarding the kind of business you’ll be setting up before you can even begin the registration process (more on this later). 

We know that’s a lot of decisions to be made — and you haven’t even started running your business yet! Talking to a legal expert can help you get the right information, so you can make choices with informed clarity. 

How Much Does It Cost To Register A Business?

As we noted, you need to decide the kind of business you want to run before you can figure out how much it will cost. 

For a business – the legal structure is commonly that of a sole trader or a partnership. To register your business as a sole trader or in a partnership, you need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). To get an ABN, you simply need to go online to the Australian Business Register and fill out an application. Applying for an ABN is completely free

If your ABN application is successful, then you’ll receive your ABN in an email shortly after it’s been approved. If you’re starting your business with partners, then each partner will need their own ABN. 

As easy and cost effective registering your business as a sole trader or with a partner may seem, it does come with a few drawbacks. With a sole trader or partnership business structure, there’s no legal separation between you and your business. This means, you’ll be completely liable for everything that happens within the business. Having such little legal protection increases the risk of running a business and can also potentially hinder future opportunities for expansion.

If your business is a serious endeavour, then you may want to consider registering it as a company. A company is a legal entity on its own, giving it legal separation from you. This means, your personal liability is protected and the company has many of the legal rights of a natural person, giving it a better foundation for future business growth. 

As great as the benefits of registering a company are, it is much more expensive than getting an ABN. Moreover, the process is a little more complex as it involves figuring out company governance, as well as who your directors and shareholders are going to be. The exact cost of registering a company will depend on the type of company you want to register. However, prices start at around $474 (as of 2024). You can read more about the costs of registering a company in our article: How Much Does It Cost To Set Up A Company? 

If you’re thinking of Registering A Company, then it is a good idea to get a legal expert to help you out. They can make the process much smoother and know what to look out for, so you can be assured your company is being registered the right way. 

How Much Does It Cost To Register A Business Name? 

Once you’ve got your ABN or your company registration is complete, then it’s time to think about Registering Your Business Name

Keep in mind, you don’t have to register your business name if you’ll be using your personal name (or the names of the partners) to run your business. However, if you’ve come up with a different name, then you’ll need to register your business name. 

Unlike getting an ABN, there are costs associated with registering your business name. The exact costs will depend on how long you choose to register your business name for. Before you register your business name, it’s necessary to take a look and see if the name you want is actually available. Our legal experts can do that for you and even get your business name registered without a hitch. 

Remember, registering your business name doesn’t mean you have exclusive use of that name. If you want to legally protect your business name and ensure you have exclusivity, talk to us about getting a Trade Mark today.  

Next Steps

The cost of registering a business in Australia depends on a number of factors. It’s a good idea to chat with a legal expert to gain more insight on your options before taking the next step. To summarise what we’ve discussed:

  • Business registration usually involves costs, often overlooked by new business owners focused on other expenses like equipment and supplies
  • Costs for registering a business vary based on factors such as legal structure, the need for a business name, duration of name registration and potential local or industry-related fees
  • Decision-making regarding legal structure and other aspects is crucial, requiring research and understanding of the financial implications for the business’s future
  • Choosing between a sole trader/partnership and a company impacts legal protection and liability, with registering a company offering more legal separation but at a higher cost (starting at around $474 as of 2024)
  • Registering as a sole trader or partnership involves obtaining an Australian Business Number (ABN), which is free, but it comes with increased personal liability
  • After obtaining an ABN or registering a company, the business may need to register its name, incurring costs depending on the registration duration. Exclusive use of the registered name doesn’t automatically guarantee legal protection
  • Seeking legal advice is recommended to navigate the complexities of business registration and make informed decisions, especially when considering registering as a company

If you would like a consultation on the costs of registering a business in Australia, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or for a free, no-obligations chat.

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